My other argument - that a deposit -especially a high one as suggested of £500 - disenfranchises the less well off - still stands. Someone on a States pension would probably not be in a good position to stand. Even someone on £18,000 would find £500 - on top of other outgoings, significantly more than someone earning (for example ) £60,000. A States member on around £41,000 per annum would also find it easier than the lower income group. For someone on £18,000, it is just under 2 weeks salary.
The Commission of 2003 which looked at the system in the UK noted:
The current deposit (designed to discourage "frivolous" candidates) for UK Parliamentary elections stands at £500, with a threshold for candidates to obtain 5% of the votes cast in order to retain their deposit. But there is no obviously consistent approach to deposits for other elected bodies: £500 for elections to the Scottish Parliament and National Assembly for Wales; £150 for the Northern Ireland Assembly; £10,000 for election as Mayor of London.
But it concluded:
- politics (and therefore candidacy) should be open to any citizen who wishes to promote a specific policy or wider political platform;
- unnecessary hurdles should not be placed in the way of citizens putting themselves forward for election; and
- relying as they do on an individual's financial standing, or ability to raise additional funds, deposits might be an outdated and inappropriate imposition.
We strongly recommended abolishing the deposit and subscriber systems for all elections in the UK. Our less-favoured alternative was at least to bring the requirements into line across different UK elections, and to reduce the proportion of votes candidates need to get in order to keep their deposits.
And here are the Dick Buesnel results, courtesy of Michael De La Haye (with permission to reproduce here) - unfortunately, I don't have the figures for numbers of candidates standing, which obviously makes a difference to how votes are allocated, even to the losers.:
|Election||Total Voters||5% Voters||His Votes||Lost Dep|
|St Helier No 2 1972||2,663||133||454||No|
|St Helier No 2 1975||2,907||145||482||No|
|St Helier No 2 1981||Elected||n/a as Elected||(518)||No|
|St Helier No 2 1984||Not known*||496||?|
|St Helier No 2 1987||Elected||n/a as Elected||(460)||No|
|St Helier No 2 1990||Elected||n/a as Elected||(479)||No|
|St Helier No 2 1993||2,491||125||373||No|
|* Total number of voters in 1984 election in No. 2 not recorded in States Greffe file|